Knave (?), n. [OE., boy, servant, knave, AS. cnafa boy, youth; cf. AS. cnapa boy, youth, D. knap, G. knabe boy, knappe esquire, Icel. knapi, Sw. knape esquire, knafvel knave.]
A boy; especially, a boy servant.
O murderous slumber,
Lay'st thou thy leaden mace upon my boy
That plays thee music? Gentle knave, good night.
Any male servant; a menial.
He's but Fortune's knave,
A minister of her will.
A tricky, deceitful fellow; a dishonest person; a rogue; a villain.
"A pair of crafty knaves
In defiance of demonstration, knaves will continue to proselyte fools.
"How many serving lads must have been unfaithful and dishonest before knave -which meant at first no more than boy -- acquired the meaning which it has now !"
A playing card marked with the figure of a servant or soldier; a jack.
Knave child, a male child. [Obs.]
Syn. -- Villain; cheat; rascal; rogue; scoundrel; miscreant.
© Webster 1913.